BMW R 12: however a small cruiser?

The R 12 brand app is fueling a rumor of a small BMW cruiser.

The model name R 12 is a protected trademark of BMW in the German registry since December 2021. Since April 2022, the name of the model has been protected in other European countries, Asia and beyond. Until now, in the pram context of the R 18, it was always said that something like this wouldn’t come. However, there seems to be something more than that. MOTORRAD guesses and displays the current BMW R 18 in the photo view.

BMW R12 for 2023?

Will R12 come or not, that is the big question. Some points speak of it and some are against it. This is supported by the reported word mark registration at the end of 2021 and the success of the R 18 in its class. Another point for the R 12 is Harley-Davidson’s Sportster S, which will be introduced in 2021, is an entry-level model in the premium segment and can boast good sales figures. However, one argument against this is that the R 18, as a classic cruiser, cannot technically compete with the Sportster S or the Nightster 975 simply because it is too heavy. Even if the engine has 30 percent less displacement. At the same time it must be said: the R 18 currently produces 91 hp from 1802 cc. In keeping with the smaller cubic capacity, the R 12 with this engine will only have 60 horsepower to offer. Less than half the engine of the Sportster S. Another big counterpoint is the failure of the R 1200 C from 1997, which did not celebrate any successes despite the boom in the cruiser market.

Heritage vs cruisers

Admittedly, the cruiser market is weak today and will not provide a basis for BMW’s R 12. But since the R 1200 C was discontinued in 2004, a new trend has sprung up on two wheels: Heritage. Below, manufacturers place new models with the latest technologies, which clearly indicate the history of the company. In the case of BMW, let us mention the R NineT or the R 18. The great potential of the Heritage segment can be exploited by BMW’s R 12.

But not the cruiser?

As mentioned earlier, the R 18’s mini-engine wouldn’t be very powerful on paper against only supposed competitors in the 1200 class: the Harley-Davidson Sportster S, the Indian Scout and the Triumph Bobber. However: the proven boxer should pack the 1200 R NineT with 1,170 cu, 109 hp and 116 Nm Euro 5+ and Euro 6 and would look good on a sport cruiser or BMW electric bike. An interesting idea is the R 12 with the R NineT engine to take on the Sportsters.


BMW bears the name of the protected model R 12. This refers to a cruiser with a smaller engine than the R 18. But the entry-level cruisers category will be contested in 2022 with at least 90 hp and only the big engine from the R 18 can achieve it. If BMW was really planning to use the model name for a motorcycle, the idea that the R 12 uses the famous oil-cooled boxer from R NineT. It has the potential to stand up to a Sportster S, Indian Scout or Triumph Bobber. Aside from the word mark, there’s nothing concrete about the BMW R 12 yet.

What do you think?

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